TWO KINDS OF WORKS
TWO KINDS OF WORKS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Someone criticized my daily essays on the Internet, claiming I am denigrating the significance of Christ's righteousness imputed to believers, stressing the believer's own works of righteousness, bifurcating between (sic) believers who rule and those who are ruled, sneaking human merit into the "salvation formula," insisting that full redemption depends on the sinner's own righteousness, and seeking to remedy imbalance while giving lip-service (sic) to justification by faith.
So I have decided to once again explain the role of righteous behavior in the Christian salvation, although I have explained, explained, explained until the country is in danger of running out of paper.
TWO KINDS OF WORKS
I am at it again! Someone dared criticize my daily essays on the Internet, claiming I am denigrating the significance of Christ's righteousness imputed to believers, stressing the believer's own works of righteousness, bifurcating between (sic) believers who rule and those who are ruled, sneaking human merit into the "salvation formula," insisting that full redemption depends on the sinner's own righteousness, and remedying imbalance while giving lip-service (sic) to justification by faith.
So I have decided to once again explain the role of righteous behavior in the Christian salvation, although I have explained, explained, explained until the country is in danger of running out of paper. I have no real need to do this, I guess, because God's sheep know His voice. But still, I may be able to explain the role of righteousness in a fresh way that might help someone.
I went to prayer about this because the traditional "state of grace" position is elusive. I can't seem to get hold of it. It actually is Gnostic philosophy and not Christianity at all. The New Testament does not teach a state of grace in which the behavior of the recipient is shielded from God's sight, but grace applied to the life in such a manner that a new righteous creation comes forth.
This is so clear in the New Testament that further discussion seems redundant. Yet the "state of grace" error is so widespread and so utterly destructive that we must keep at it until the Holy Spirit awakens the churches of Christ. In fact, one preacher was heard to say recently there is not so much as one commandment in the New Testament. Can you believe this? Although the words "Thou shalt not" are not employed, I'll bet there are close to five hundred injunctions in the New Testament, such as:
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (Colossians 3:8—NIV)
By utterly destructive I mean because of the current definition of grace there are numerous believers who are vindictive, covetous, slanderous, argumentative, proud, haughty, lustful, rebellious, unteachable, divisive, treacherous, and they have no intention of changing because they are "saved by grace." Although they claim to be Christians they are children of the devil as long as they act this way. The children of God act like God. The children of the devil act like the devil. This is the plain truth of it and all the grace and theology in the world will never make the situation any different.
If you are of Jesus Christ you will act like Jesus Christ. If you are of the devil you will act like the devil. No "salvation formula" (a term used by our critic) is of use when people keep doing the works of Satan. Check it out in the Scriptures.
As for "bifurcating" (why do critics use words nobody understands?) the believers into two groups (our critic said I am teaching heaven will be bifurcated between believers who rule and those who do not rule.) I question the usage here of "bifurcated between." I am not sure one "bifurcates between," I think it should be bifurcated into two groups or branches—correct me if I am wrong. Of course I teach there are those who rule and those who are ruled. How could we "rule and reign" (a common redundancy) with Christ if there is nobody to rule? Do we rule over the lost?
And why bring Heaven into the picture? Of course we do not govern one another in Heaven. It is on the earth that the royal priesthood will govern the nations of the saved. I don't believe the critic has read very much of my writings.
Having done with bifurcating, let us proceed to the issue.
As I said, I went to the Lord with this issue. The modern definition of salvation by grace has been elusive to me. Not only can I not find any such thing in the New Testament, the very concept eludes me. I prayed and asked the Lord to help me see clearly what the Christian theorists mean by a "state of grace."
All I can come up with is "Christian Gnosticism."
Gnosticism is a philosophy dating from the first century or earlier, maybe much earlier. I am not an expert on Gnosticism. I have learned that Gnosticism presents salvation as being a formula (our critic's term) that one adopts mentally. The holding of this formula makes it possible for one to enter the spirit Paradise, to dwell there forever, presumably.
Now if that isn't what is taught today I will eat the genuine leather cover on my Bible.
To be saved nowadays is to make the right statement concerning Jesus Christ. That's it! No change in behavior is required. Accepting the formula guarantees entrance into Heaven at death. This is about as far from Christianity as one could get. This notion has destroyed the Church of Jesus Christ.
It is as though the righteousness of Christ is transferred to us, upon our statement of belief, and from then on God views us as acceptable to Him. Apparently this "imputed righteousness" lasts forever. No change in personality will ever be required. In fact, any attempt to live righteously is viewed with suspicion as though it is an attempt to improve on the perfect righteousness of Christ.
Can you believe this nonsense is preached as though it is found somewhere in the New Testament?
As I was praying and asking for a clear understanding of this deception and the way its adherents see it, the thought came to me that it is totally man-centered. It makes no provision to meet God's needs. Maybe this is why the "state of grace" position is so popular in self-centered America.
God has needs. Did you ever think about that? God needs living stones for His Temple, brothers for Jesus Christ, a Wife for the Lamb, members for the Body of Christ, judges of men and angels, and so forth. Did you know that?
I am sure you can understand readily that an untransformed human being is useless as a stone for God's Temple, as a brother of Jesus Christ, as part of the Wife of the Lamb, as a member of the Body of Christ, as a judge of men and angels.
One of our problems is that we read a passage of the New Testament and assume because of our adoption of the "salvation formula" (the critic's term), what the passage states is automatically true of us.
For example, the Apostle Paul said if any person is in Christ he is a new creation. Christians go around saying they are new creatures and that they have been born again because "the Bible says so."
The truth is, they never have been born again and they are not new creatures. They are basically the same worldly, lustful, self-willed person they always have been. The New Testament talks about reality, not about a schizophrenic state in which the believer lives in an imaginary world waiting to be taken to never-never land to play a harp and walk around in golden slippers.
Do you remember Paul mentioning that he was travailing in birth again?
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19—NIV)
If there were no other verse in the New Testament, this statement alone would completely eliminate the "state of grace" position.
Now consider: the people Paul was addressing were saved and had received God's Spirit. They were as saved as anyone who has taken the "four steps of salvation."
And all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia: (Galatians 1:2—NIV)
I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? (Galatians 3:2—NIV)
If you maintain those whom Paul was addressing never had taken the four steps of salvation or had not received God's Spirit, do not read any further. Spend your time doing something that is more profitable and enjoyable for you.
The believers in Galatia were people who were "saved" as we use the term. According to current teaching they had become permanently identified with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. No action could "unborn" them.
If such is the case, what did Paul mean "until Christ is formed in you"?
Had they received Christ? Undeniably yes. Had they received the Holy Spirit? Undeniably yes.
Were they born again? Now here is the issue. Birth indicates something has been formed in the mother and then brought forth. Either Christ had been born in them and then aborted, or else Christ had only been conceived in them. If not, why was Paul in travail again that Christ would be formed in them?
It is crystal clear that having Christ formed in us is something other than taking the "four steps of salvation."
Paul was again in the pains of childbirth. Why? Because they were thinking of going back under the Law of Moses. What is the problem with this? If it is true that no action on our part can possibly jeopardize our "state of grace," why was Paul concerned?
How could they lose the "grace" given them when they first received Christ and His Holy Spirit?
Suppose one of them who had received Christ had died before Christ was formed in him. What would be true of him?
Would he still be "saved" even though Christ had not been formed in him?
How does having Christ formed in us have any bearing on whether we are saved?
One fundamental problem with this whole argument is that our critic defines saved as "escaping Hell and going to Heaven when one dies." If this definition is changed in any manner the whole argument takes a different course.
I would like to set forth the idea that being saved has nothing to do with escaping Hell and going to Heaven. We are not saved from Hell. We are not saved to go to Heaven.
"Horrors," Brother Thompson, "how can you say such a thing?"
It's easy. I just go to the Bible.
The Bible does not say we are saved from Hell. The wicked always belong in Hell and we will go to Hell if we are wicked.
The Bible does not say we are saved to go to Heaven. We will go to Heaven if we belong to Jesus, but Heaven is not our goal. Heaven is the goal of the Gnostics, not of the Christians!
"I am aghast!"
You are aghast because you don't read the Bible. When you do you cannot see what is in front of you.
Right now, find three clear passages in context that state Christ came to save us from Hell. Or maybe find two. Or maybe . . .
Right now, find three clear passages in context that state Christ came to bring us to Heaven.
Right now, find three clear passages in context that state Christ is going to return to bring His Church to Heaven.
If you can find them, then I am all wet. If you can't, then . . .
Christ did not come to bring us from Hell to Heaven but from Satan to God.
To open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. (Acts 26:18—NIV)
Look carefully. Do you see anything in this passage about going to Heaven? Do you find any passage in the Book of Acts that speaks of our going to Heaven?
I wonder why Christian preachers do not search the Scriptures and find out what they are supposed to be preaching and teaching. The churches are in a moral mess because of the wrong doctrine being preached, and if I am hearing from God He is not pleased with the situation.
One corollary of the current doctrine that we are in a "state of grace" and our behavior doesn't matter (pure Gnosticism) concerns the word "worthy."
How often do we hear, "I am not worthy but He is worthy!" With this the suppliant rolls his or her eyes, bowing in humility before Christ, perhaps shedding a few tears of self-mortification.
Suppose you as a mother or father have a child. You say to your child, "It is time to go up to bed. We are going to have a busy time tomorrow and I want you to get a good rest."
With this the child bows in humility and says, "O Mother (or Father), you are worthy but I am not worthy. I am so unworthy that I probably will not do what you say but will stay up until midnight watching television. This shows you how unworthy I am, but you are worthy. You are the greatest mother in the world. Behold your unworthy son (or daughter).
"Mother, you were wondering what happened to the cookies you baked? I ate them all. See how unworthy I am? I just wanted everyone to know you were so worthy to bake three dozen cookies, and by not asking you for one and eating all of them your worthiness and my unworthiness can be seen by everyone.
"Dad, you are the most worthy father any boy could have. I am so unworthy I took your rifle and shot the horse next door for target practice. I am so unworthy but you are so worthy. I truly love you, my most worthy Father. In fact, I have told all the kids in school how worthy you are and how unworthy I am."
I can feel my blood pressure rising, particularly the systolic rate. So I better change the subject.
The title of this briefest of essays is "Two Kinds of Works."
Our critic has accused me of trying to add to Christ's righteousness some of my own, to giving only lip-service (sic) to justification by faith. This tells me he has not read my material with any degree of comprehension. I know this is true because he has me trying to "bifurcate between" (sic) believers in Heaven, of all places.
In the first place I would never denigrate or bifurcate. Golly Ned! My mother would not even let me use such words in the house. She would wash my mouth out with soap. Secondly, my doctrine is not oriented toward eternal residence in Heaven but toward the resurrection from the dead and doing God's will in His Kingdom on the earth.
So what about works of righteousness? They obviously must fit somewhere because one of the main topics of the entire New Testament is righteous behavior.
There are two kinds of works involved in our discussion. The first kind is composed of efforts we make as an unsaved person to earn salvation. Paul spoke about this a great deal. But Paul was referring to the works of the Law of Moses, such as circumcision, not to our attempts to be fair or truthful. A misunderstanding of what the Apostle Paul meant by "works" plays a very large role in the current applesauce known today as Christian doctrine.
At the time of the Protestant Reformation the concern was over the works enjoined by the Catholic Church, such as saying the "Our Father" ten times as a penance, to atone for a sin we had committed.
So the first kind of works consists of our efforts to earn salvation by adhering to some code of conduct.
The second kind of works includes the works of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God produced by the new covenant.
We have made the new covenant a special formula that we accept, believing it to be a ticket to Heaven.
The new covenant is neither a formula nor a ticket. The new covenant is the writing of God's laws in our mind and in our heart. God's eternal moral law is inscribed in our mind so we will understand the difference between right and wrong. God's eternal moral law is inscribed in our heart so we will choose to do God's will.
We can see at once that the new covenant is not primarily one of belief but of moral transformation. Apart from the moral transformation of the individual there is no new covenant, no Christian salvation, no change from Satan to God. What could be clearer?
The question is, is it possible to have the law of God inscribed in our mind and heart, to have Christ formed in us (which is the same thing), and not have a change in our behavior?
The answer is, "Absolutely not!" The writing of God's law in our mind and heart always produces change in how we think, how we speak, how we act. How could it be otherwise?
Can we have Christ formed in us and not change?
The formation of Christ in us always results in righteous behavior.
It is not a case of adding our righteous works to Christ's perfect righteousness, it is a case of responding to the Spirit of God as He leads us to repentance and deliverance from sin. Such repentance and deliverance are of the very nature of salvation. They are what salvation is! There is no salvation apart from moral transformation!
To get down to the nuts and bolts, it is Christ in us who is the new covenant. But Christ is formed in us only as we keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. We have to do what the New Testament says while our adamic nature is still our main source of wisdom, energy, and strength. Since our adamic nature often is unable to keep Christ's commandments, we have to come continually before the Throne of Grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23—NIV)
And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (II Peter 1:19—NIV)
If we want the Father and the Son to make Their home in us, if we want the Morning Star, which is Christ, to rise in our heart, then we must pay attention to the Hebrew Prophets and to the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.
This is the reason Satan has deceived the churches concerning the necessity of obeying the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. Satan understands it is only by keeping the commandments that Christ is formed in us. And until Christ is formed in us Satan's kingdom is not in danger.
Therefore our diligent obedience to Christ is our response to the mechanism of the new covenant, not an attempt to earn our salvation. Apart from such response, such works of obedience to the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, the program of salvation, of transformation, ceases to operate.
The fruit that Christ is looking for is moral transformation. If we do not change in our moral behavior we will be cut from the Vine, from Christ.
On a talk show recently the moderator said if we do not bear fruit we become a useless branch but we never lose our "salvation." This is not what the Bible says. The Bible says the barren branch is cut from the Vine, from Christ. Can we be cut off from Christ and still be saved, when there is no other name under Heaven whereby we must be saved? I think not.
Those who are teaching the "salvation formula" cannot support their position from the Scripture. They must cut and paste, hedging, appealing to principles of the Greek language not known to most of us, and so forth. But when some of us state that true Christians become new righteous creations, changed daily from sin to righteousness, we have whole books to support us, such as the Book of First John.
James wrote "Faith without works is dead." This means righteous behavior is the very life of faith. There is no such thing as an abstract faith.
The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews is the "faith chapter." It is a lengthy definition of "The just shall live by faith." There is no evidence of a "salvation formula" in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. It is a record of works, of the true works that proceed from obedience to God.
How did this mystical "make a profession of Christ and you will be clothed in perfect righteousness, a state of righteousness not affected by your behavior," ever get started? Probably from two sources. The first is the philosophy of Gnosticism that greatly troubled the first-century Christian churches. The other is, as we pointed out, a Gentile misunderstanding of what the Apostle Paul meant by "works."
Actually salvation is a change in the human being, a change brought about by our response to the grace of God given us under the new covenant. We do not change so we can go to Heaven, as though Heaven were the salvation. It is the change itself that is salvation. The change enables us to have fellowship with God and to fulfill all the Kingdom roles that have been prepared for us to inherit.
Salvation commences with the grace of forgiveness, proceeds to the grace of repentance through water baptism, then the grace of eternal life and being born again, then the grace of the New-Testament writings, then the grace of the assemblies of fervent Christians and the gifts and ministries of the Body of Christ, then the daily grace of the Holy Spirit as He adds to us the tremendous wisdom, virtue, and strength found in the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
All of the grace of God given through Jesus Christ is for the purpose of creating sons of God in the image of God, brothers of Jesus Christ, living stones in the eternal House of God, a royal priesthood to govern the saved nations of the earth, judges of men and angels, and all the other roles and tasks of the Kingdom of God.
Now let us contrast the two different kinds of salvation.
The first is the current "salvation formula."
We accept the blood of the cross as an atonement for our sins.
We choose to come out of the world and into the Kingdom of God, portraying our choice in water baptism.
We now are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are eligible for Heaven when we die. We ought to do what good we can but no behavior on our part, righteous or unrighteous, has any bearing on our eternal residence in Heaven where will have a mansion and perhaps a backyard full of diamonds.
We are clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ and shall be regarded as righteous for eternity. We ought to do what we can to encourage others to accept the gift of salvation so they too can spend eternity in Heaven.
This is the current definition of being "saved."
The other definition is as follows: we are forgiven our sins by receiving the atonement made by Jesus Christ on the cross. We are baptized in water portraying our oneness with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our turning away from the world and entering the Kingdom of God.
Now the program of salvation begins. We start off making our way on the narrow, pressured road that leads to eternal life. Several passages of the New Testament warn us about starting and then not continuing.
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (Hebrews 3:14—NIV)
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. (Hebrews 10:21—NIV)
It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. (II Peter 2:21—NIV)
Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5—NIV)
The above are four clear statements that, kept in context, speak to Christian people about the danger of starting and then turning back, of not enduring to the end, of putting our hand to the plow and then looking back.
I wonder how current Bible scholars render such statements null and void? I know today's teachers will twist and turn every way to prove we do not have to live righteously; we should live righteously they agree, but if we do not no significant harm is done. "Thou shalt not surely die" is preached every Sunday from Christian pulpits. The blind are leading the blind.
If the Bible is God's inerrant Word, and if I am interpreting it correctly, when believers die who have trusted in the "four steps of salvation" to save them, and have not followed the Lord Jesus in the path of discipleship, they are going to suffer in the spirit realm. You can believe this or not but I think this is what I am getting from the Lord.
So the argument about whether or not we are to obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles is no mere exercise in theology. It is your future we are talking about so be sure you have clear Biblical ground for what you believe. Do not take the word of any Christian teacher. Find out for yourself what the Word says. Pray and ask God for understanding. If you do you may turn into a wrong-way lemming, but that's better than drowning!
It may influence your decision to learn that most of the punishments Jesus spoke of in the Gospels are not directed toward the unbelievers but toward His servants. And those punishments are severe!
It helps both my systolic and diastolic pressures to set down these thoughts, but I don't know if anyone outside our church is listening.
Every day evil is set before us. Every day grace is given us to overcome the evil of the day. If we, through the grace of Jesus Christ, overcome the evil, the rewards of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation belong to us.
If, however, we lead the usual American Christian life, not seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, trusting that Jesus "did it all" and we are perfectly righteous in God's sight even though we are neglecting our salvation, not overcoming the evil of the day, blaming people, gossiping, yielding to lustful passions, not gathering with fervent saints, watching the moral filth of the world on the television, wasting time on professional sports and other hobbies, we will never, never, never receive the rewards promised to the overcomer, not by grace, mercy, or belief in Christ.
Why won't we be crowned with life and righteousness when the Lord appears? Because we are not living as a victorious saint.
"But I was told that if I took the four steps of salvation I would be considered an overcomer, a victorious saint, even though I don't always do what I know what the Lord wants me to do. You know, I am saved by grace and not by works of righteousness I have done!"
I will tell you something: you are deceived. If you will read the four Gospels you will find that the dreadful punishments found in the Gospels are directed toward the Lord's servants.
If you run out of the oil of the Holy Spirit you will not be admitted to the marriage when the Lord comes. Either Jesus is a liar or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and are unintentionally deceiving others.
If you bury your talent you will lose it and be cast into the outer darkness. Either Jesus is a liar or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and unintentionally deceiving others.
If you gossip and slander other Christians you are worthy of death. Either the Apostle Paul is a liar or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and are unintentionally deceiving others.
If you continue to live in the passions and appetites of your flesh you will never inherit the Kingdom of God. Either the Apostle Paul is a liar or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and are unintentionally deceiving others.
If you practice wicked behavior you will be driven from the Presence of Christ, even though you have prophesied and worked miracles in His name. Either Jesus is a liar or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and are unintentionally deceiving others.
When you stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ you will receive both the good and the bad you have practiced in your body. Either the Apostle Paul is a liar or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and are unintentionally deceiving others.
You have to endure to the end in order to be saved. Either Jesus is a liar or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and are unintentionally deceiving others.
If you neglect your salvation, not gathering with the saints as you have opportunity, you will not escape. Either the writer of the Book of Hebrews is a liar or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and are unintentionally deceiving others.
If you sin willfully after you receive the knowledge of the truth you will be regarded as an enemy of God. Either the writer of the Book of Hebrews is a liar or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and are unintentionally deceiving others.
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, But only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26,27—NIV)
If you do not bear the fruit of Christ's moral image in your personality you will be cut off from Christ. Either the Lord Jesus is a liar or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and are unintentionally deceiving others.
If you as a Christian bear thorns and thistles in your personality your are near to cursing and burning. Either the writer of the Book of Hebrews is a liar or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and are unintentionally deceiving others.
If you do not keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles you do not love Jesus and you are regarded as unrighteous. Either Jesus and the Apostle John are liars or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and are unintentionally deceiving others.
If you know what God wants you to do and do not do it, you will be beaten with many blows. Either the Lord Jesus is a liar or numerous Christian leaders are deceived and are unintentionally deceiving others.
I could go on and on and on but you already may have gotten the point. We are way off base today!
The Christian traditions of our day are not only applesauce they are destructive lies. They are not found in the Scriptures except by cutting and pasting a verse here and there to "prove" Christians do not have to do righteous works.
How can we bear witness of Christ if we do not do righteous works? Jesus Himself commanded us to let our light shine so the world could see our good works and glorify God.
The lengths Christian scholars will go to in order to prove we do not really have to become a new creation in order to be "saved" is nothing short of remarkable. It reminds one of a pretzel factory. The Greek often is appealed to because most of us are defenseless when appeals are made to the imperfect past participles and future aorist subjunctions that prove the text doesn't mean what it says.
I do not think we need a burst of brilliance that would terrify the neighbors in order to discover the Bible is the "good book" and teaches us how to live soberly in the fear of God. Just good old common sense will do. But I guess common sense went out with the covered wagon.
Sometime people ask, "What is your doctrine?"
My answer is, "the Bible—just as it stands."
"But you can prove anything from the Bible!"
"Not if you approach it inductively, letting it command its own therefores. But if you draw conclusions from isolated passages you can get messed up."
If we stand back and view the New Testament as a whole, it is telling us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to forgive people and change them so they can worship God in Spirit and in truth. Jesus always referred to the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. God wants His will done in the earth.
Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Both grace and truth are Christ. Christ Himself is the Grace of God through whom we are changed from sinners to saints, not by imputation alone but most importantly in actuality.
The Kingdom is coming to the earth, the Kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament. The Kingdom is Christ formed in us. When the Christians have Christ formed in them, Christ will return with them and establish righteousness in the earth.
It is as simple, as clear as this.
If you want to please God, then seek Him several times a day. He will keep challenging you and then help you to change. As you change you grow in your ability to discern good and evil, and in your desire and strength to choose the good and reject the evil. This is what it means to grow in Christ.
Your goal is to be conformed to the moral image of Christ and to enter untroubled rest in the heart of the Father through Christ.
You can reach this goal if you avoid those who are teaching Gnostic Christianity—that we are to adopt a formula that insures our entrance to the spirit Paradise apart from conformation to Christ's image, apart from untroubled rest in the Father's heart and will.
Don't let these false teachers take your crown unless you want to join them in the outer darkness some day!
I hope I have not denigrated or bifurcated.
This is enough for one day and my blood pressure is back to normal, so I shall retire and snore the snore of faith.